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Romain Rolland: Mobilization of all the forces in the world for peace

19 January, 2019 - 15:55

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

French writers on war and peace

Romain Rolland: Selections on war

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Romain Rolland
Translated by R. A. Francis

From a letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, 1936

It is entrusted to me to ask you as well as Gandhi to join a Universal Assembly for Peace which we are convening towards the end of this summer, probably in September at Geneva. It will be a vast and powerful Congress, a sort of mobilisation of all the forces in the world for peace. A number of great national and international organizations and personalities from France, England, United States, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Belgium, Holland and many other countries have already joined (in England Lord Robert Cecil, Major Attlee, Norman Angell, Philip Noel Baker, Alexander and Professor Laski; in France Herriot, Pierre Cot, Jouhaux, Cadrin, Racamond, Professor Langevin, etc.; in Czechoslovakia Benes, Hodza; in Spain Azana, Alvarez del Vago, etc.; in Belgium Louis de Brouckere, Henri Lafontaine, etc.). It will be a question of organizing, simultaneously on a national and international level, resistance against the catastrophic menace of a universal conflagration. Would you please talk about this to our friends in India, while conveying to them my cordial salutations? Their reply as well as yours can be sent either to me or to the head-office of the “World Committee for the Struggle against War and Fascism”, of which I was made Honorary President (237 rue Lafayette, Paris X).

***

From An Expression of Gratitude to Gandhi from a Man of the West (1939)

He appeared in the eyes of Europe at an hour when such an example seemed almost miraculous. Europe had scarcely emerged from four years of savage warfare, whose ravages, ruins and rancours were living on and breeding the germs of new wars yet more implacable.

But if his Word of wisdom and love, like that of the Master of the Sermon on the Mount, has touched the hearts of thousands of good people, it did not fall to them – any more than it was granted to the Master of Nazareth – to change the course of a world which has devoted itself to war and destruction. In order to be applied in politics, the doctrine of non-violence needs a moral climate very different from that which prevails in Europe today: it demands a total self-sacrifice, immense and unanimous, which has no chance of present success in face of the growing ferocity of the new regimes of totalitarian dictatorship which have established themselves in the world and proved themselves pitilessly in the blood of millions of men.

May the spirit of Gandhi, as of old that of the great founders of the Christian orders, St. Bruno, St. Bernard and St. Francis, maintain, amidst the furious torments of the age of crisis and transformation through which mankind is passing, the Civitas Dei, the love of humanity and of harmony!

For the rest of us, intellectuals, scientists, writers and artists, we who also work, as much as our feeble forces will allow, to prepare for the spirit this City of all men in which reigns the peace of God, we who are the third order (in the language of the Church) and who belong to the Pan-Humanist brotherhood, -we send our fervent tribute of love and veneration to Gandhi our master and brother, who in his heart and in his action realizes our ideal of the humanity to come.

***

Gandhi’s Statement on Romain Rolland’s Death (1945)

Having been once bitten, I am too shy to believe in Romain Rolland’s reported death. But it seems that this report is true. And yet for me as for many millions, Romain Rolland is not dead. He truly lives through his famous writings and perhaps more so through his many and nameless deeds. He lived for truth and non-violence as he saw and believed them from time to time. He responded to all sufferings. He revolted against the wanton human butchery called ‘War’.

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From Le Voyage Interieur

It was not only my cosmic dreams which I sought to nourish at the springs of clairvoyant India; I also bore thither my European concerns, the spectre of war, which had already ravaged the fields of the West and was still prowling round the charnel-house. I knew only too well that the Furies were still lurking behind the tombstones from which the red smoke of blood was still rising. And I was anxious to erect in their path, as at the conclusion of Aeschylus’ trilogy, a barrier built of sovereign reason which might bring the conflict to an end. This could hardly be expected of the victorious imperialisms of the West, intent on enjoying the spoils and gorged to stupefaction, who were neglecting even the most elementary precautions to keep what they held. I thought I had found the answer in the revelation brought to me in 1922 by Gandhi, the little Indian St. Francis. Did he bear, in the folds of his homespun robe, in his Ahimsa, the heroic Non-violence which resists and does not flee, the key to our liberation from future massacres? I so needed to believe it that for several years I did believe it passionately, and I generously worked to spread this faith. I was certain – and I retract nothing – that in this alone could be found the salvation of our world laden with crimes, past, present and future. But to make this possible the world had to will it, and first of all it had to find the strength for it; for such a faith demanded the consenting self-sacrifice of a people of heroes, and the post-war climate was not of a kind to encourage such a breed in the West…

***

From Introduction to Young India

I wanted to destroy a misunderstanding which would confine Gandhi within a nerveless pacifism. If Christ was the Prince of Peace, Gandhi is no less worthy of this noble title. But the peace which both of them bring to men is not the peace of passive acceptance, but the peace of active love and self-sacrifice…

A few weeks ago, after long debates about the Amnesty in the French Parliament, the public authorities, faced with little resistance from an opposition mediocre both in number and in quality, refused to include Conscientious Objectors in the proffered pardon – establishing as terms of their amnesty that it should apply only to those who fought.

Our politicians are wearing blinkers. They do not suspect that there is more than one battle going on in the modern world; and the most heroic is no longer the one being fought at the front by the national armies.

***

From The Christ of India

He [Gandhi] has come at the world’s darkest hour, at which the principles supporting Western civilization have been undermined. The tottering European world is abandoning itself to primitive and violent instincts of the most bestial kind, served by all the means of destruction which a highly refined science can offer. On the morrow of a terrible four-year war, and on the eve, not just of one war, but of ten related wars which will not leave a single neutral state in safety – between these suspended menaces, as between the parted waves of a Red Sea on the point of engulfing mankind as they close – there sits the frail sage of India…

Cross-border bridge connecting Russia & China to open in 2020

19 January, 2019 - 15:39

Preview The construction of a long-awaited bridge across the Amur River, aimed at connecting Russia’s Far East city of Blagoveshchensk with the northeastern Chinese city of Heihe, will be completed next year.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Why is the Coast Guard’s Hollywood Office Still Open Despite the Government Shut Down?

19 January, 2019 - 15:26
The US Coast Guard's film office remains open despite the government shut down. While 350,000 federal workers are currently not being paid and the national parks and national archives are temporarily shuttered, the government's entertainment propaganda apparatus continues to fire on all cylinders despite the lack of appropriations.

(Read more...)

‘Racist procedure’: Palestinians forced from bus & searched before entering Israeli hospital

19 January, 2019 - 15:06

Preview An Israeli ‘apartheid hospital’ is drawing condemnation for making Palestinians exit a bus to be searched before entering its grounds, with thousands of activists demanding an end to the discriminatory policy.
Read Full Article at RT.com

'You did amazing, don't cry!': Serena consoles tearful teenager Yastremska at Aus Open (VIDEO)

19 January, 2019 - 15:03

Preview Fierce competitor Serena Williams showed her softer side when consoling a teary-eyed Dayana Yastremska after vanquishing the Ukrainian in straight sets in the Australian Open 2019 round of 32 at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.
Read Full Article at RT.com

DRC poll hub: Court to give verdict on Fayulu's petition today

19 January, 2019 - 14:40

Follow our day-to-day coverage of the elections – before, during, after polls

January 19: DRC top court to deliver verdict on poll challenge

The Constitutional Court hearing the poll challenge brought by Martin Fayulu is due to issue its verdict today, the court confirmed to the AFP news agency.

Multiple sources are reporting that despite the 14:00 GMT time given for the court sitting, it is expected to start late into the evening.

There are largely three possible outcomes according to legal experts seized with the issue. An affirmation, an annulment or a call for rerun of the polls.

Tshisekedi wins, swearing-in to take place in 10 days.
Order a recount of the votes – a position advanced by Fayulu.

Scrap the whole process and start again.

Fayulu’s many backers: The DRC’s president-elect Tshisekedi to AU

A fourth scenario will be the justices throwing out the case on a legal technicality. This will be akin to the first case of “endorsing” a Tshisekedi victory.

#BREAKING DR Congo's constitutional court tells AFP it will give its election verdict at 1400 GMT

— AFP Africa (AFPAfrica) January 19, 2019

January 18: Kinshasa plays hard with AU advice to halt final results

Kinshasa has rejected an African Union position that it delays the announcement of final results from its disputed presidential election, the government said on Friday.

The final tally for the Dec. 30 election, which was marred by widespread violence and fraud allegations, is to be released once the Constitutional Court has ruled on challenges to the provisional results, including from opposition leader and election runner-up Martin Fayulu.

The court’s decision is expected later on Friday or Saturday. Government spokesman Lambert Mende said on Friday that while the AU delegation was welcome, the post-electoral process would not change as Kinshasa had the sovereign right to control it.

Read the full story here: DRC rejects AU request to delay final poll results

January 17: AU chief doubts results of polls

“Even if the situation on the ground has been fortunately calm so far, it obviously remains a cause for concern.

“Frankly, there are serious doubts about the compliance of the results that have been proclaimed,” these are the words of the African Union commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat as AU and regional bloc, SADC, met over the DRC’s political impasse in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The elections body, CENI, declared Felix Tshisekedi winner of the poll but a fellow opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, is in court challenging the results.

The powerful Catholic church and other independent observers have claimed the results have been rigged. The court is due to deliver a judgment soon.

The “Double Troika” refers to the application of the two levels at which the Troika System operates. #BetterAfricaBetterWorld pic.twitter.com/6fqM6AYtOb— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) January 17, 2019

Follow our Africa Elections page for more

January 15: Court hearing poll challenge: UNSC hails Congolese maturity

The January 12 petition deposited at the Constitutional Court in Kinshasa is being heard as different parties make their submissions to the panel of judges on why or why not the provisional presidential results should be cancelled.

The United Nations Security Council, UNSC, after a meeting on the DRC issued a statement that largely called on Congolese to maintain a peaceful atmosphere whiles awaiting the relevant authorities to act.

The statement also stressed the UNSC respect for the sovereignty of the DRC saying: “They (UNSC members) reiterated their full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC, in accordance with the UN charter.”

The election body has categorically rejected the petitioners case seeking to annul the December 30 polls. Reports indicate that the CACH coalition led by Felix Tshisekedi could apply to join the case and ask that the CENI’s declaration be respected.

The results have been flatly rejected by the Catholic Church whiles France, Belgium, United Kingdom and United States have called for release of detailed result tallies.

On their part, the regional blocs, SADC and ICGLR have advocated the need for a recount of votes to assure winners and losers that the process was clean and not tampered with.

Facebook may face a record fine over privacy lapses – reports

19 January, 2019 - 14:30

Preview US authorities are reportedly considering imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook after the data of tens of millions of its users was harvested by political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Madagascar president Andry Rajoelina sworn into office

19 January, 2019 - 14:18

Madagascar president, Andry Rajoelina, has been sworn into office on Saturday after taking the oath of office in Antananarivo before nine judges of the High Constitutional Court.

VIDEO: ?? The transfer of power between Madagascar's outgoing president Hery Rajaonarimampianina and President-elect Andry Rajoelina takes place at the presidential palace in Antananarivo pic.twitter.com/rLb88PwlsM— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 18, 2019

In accordance with the Constitution, Mr. Rajoelina swore an oath “to perform in virtue” his function as President of the Republic of Madagascar and to use his powers “to guarantee and strengthen national unity and human rights”.

“This is a new page in the nation’s history and it is hoped that in five years’ time, national unity will be strengthened,” said Court President Jean Eric Rakotoarisoa during the ceremony held at Mahamasina’s municipal stadium.

Africa: Madagascar, The official transfer of power ceremony in Madagascar between outgoing President Hery Rajaonarimampianina & President-elect Andry Rajoelina in the capital Antananarivo on Friday. 18-01-2019 pic.twitter.com/lWgIiBlwmm— Rowan Van Dijk (@Lastkombo) January 19, 2019

For the first time in the history of the island, which has been accustomed to political crises since its independence from France in 1960, the President’s inauguration took place in the presence of his electoral rivals and previous heads of state Didier Ratsiraka, Marc Ravalomanana and Hery Rajaonarimampianina.

Madagascar's new president, Andry Rajoelina, has been sworn in. HoW do you say congratulations in Malagasy? Here goes ….. lkjsadhfouihfewqufgjwefchuwehfwefnhwoiqkisdjgfkjkgjkgnjsdfvANANANANANA— will ross (@willintune) January 19, 2019

On Friday, also for the first time in the country’s history, a transfer of power was made between two elected presidents, Mr. Rajaonarimampianina and Mr. Rajoelina.

“This is historic, it is an illustration of a democratic transfer of power, respect for republican values,” Rajaonarimampianina told the press outside the presidential palace.

Investiture Andry Rajoelina
19-01-2019 pic.twitter.com/TokrFhQ0SF— Maminiaina Razafindrabe (@MaminiainaFaby) January 19, 2019

The presidential election, the second round which was held on 19 December, was the scene of a fierce struggle between Mr. Ravalomanana and Mr. Rajoelina.

Deputy Minister Landers at the inauguration of the President-elect Andry Rajoelina, in Antananarivo, Madagascar. #MadagascarInauguration pic.twitter.com/9H7mQUAPrP— DIRCO South Africa (@DIRCO_ZA) January 19, 2019

In power since 2002, the former had been forced to resign in 2009 in the face of a wave of violent demonstrations fomented by the latter, then mayor of Antananarivo.

The latter had then been installed by the army at the head of a transitional presidency that he left in 2014.

Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina pledged to invest in renewable energy and make it easier for investors to do business in the island nation after winning last month’s elections https://t.co/97geEOFPDq— Bloomberg (@business) January 19, 2019

The two men had been banned from running for the 2013 presidential election as part of an internationally endorsed post-crisis agreement.

On 8 January, the Malagasy courts validated Mr Rajoelina’s victory by dismissing unsurprisingly all accusations of fraud by his rival Marc Ravalomanana.

President Hage G. Geingob attends inauguration ceremony of President-elect, H.E Andry Rajoelina of the Republic of Madagascar. pic.twitter.com/PV3ftLyTUD— Presidency | Republic of Namibia (@NamPresidency) January 19, 2019

AFP

1000s of police on guard as Yellow Vests hit streets in France for 10th week in a row

19 January, 2019 - 14:16

Preview For the 10th week in a row, Yellow Vest protesters filled the streets of Paris and other cities in France, with thousands of police standing guard. Earlier, President Emmanuel Macron launched his “national debates” on the crisis.
Read Full Article at RT.com

'Juve Out!': Fans call for boycott, expulsion of Juventus amid referee 'bias' in Italian Super Cup

19 January, 2019 - 14:14

Preview A #JuveOut hashtag has been spreading among Italian football fans, with many vowing to stay away from fixtures involving the Italian champions given concerns about a series of dubious refereeing decisions awarded in their favor.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Calm in Tripoli after two days of fighting

19 January, 2019 - 14:12

Calm returns to Tripoli after two days of fighting between rival militias. Ten people were killed and 41 injured, including women and children, according to a report by the Ministry of Health. The violence was between militias in the Libyan capital and an armed group called the 7th Brigade, which came from Tarhouna in the West and took over Tripoli airport before being attacked.

“Thank God, morale is high among the fighters. Thanks to the individuals and fighters who are with us, the Sidi Sayeh region and al-Nakheel road have been retaken. We succeeded in expelling the militias that were spreading terror among the inhabitants’‘. Abdul Hadi, a member of the Tripoli Protection Force.

“We managed to drive out the so-called 7th Brigade militia and discovered here that the headquarters and rest area were full of cars belonging to civilians and citizens. We also found that rest areas were being transformed into prisons, Milad, member of the Tripoli Protection Force

The fighting comes almost six months after the violent clashes that killed at least 117 people and wounded more than 400 at the end of August. The latest round of violence shattered a UN brokered ceasefire agreement signed in September. The UN mission in Libya warned on Wednesday against violence that threatens the truce.

@philemonmbale

Crown Prince MBS must be ‘dealt with’ before US-Saudi relations can move forward – Sen. Graham

19 January, 2019 - 14:08

Preview Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has become an obstacle to improving US-Saudi relations and must be “dealt with,” US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has warned.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Banksters HATE The Free Market

19 January, 2019 - 14:04

But here’s a puzzler for the socialists in the crowd: Why is it that the very banksters against whom they so rightfully rage are in fact their biggest allies in the fight against the free market?

Know Your Enemy: The Royal Institute of International Affairs

19 January, 2019 - 14:04

Readers of this column will know all about the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) by now. What you may not know, however, is that the CFR is in fact a branch of a slightly older, slightly less-known organization: the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot to defend London Marathon title

19 January, 2019 - 13:37

Vivian Cheruiyot believes she will need to produce her “very best” to defend her London Marathon title in April as she heads a star-studded lineup, which includes winners of the last four majors.

Cheruiyot will be joined by fellow Kenyans Gladys Cherono, Brigid Kosgei and Mary Keitany, who top the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII rankings with 25 points apiece from their wins in Berlin, Chicago and New York respectively.

Cheruiyot clocked two hours, 18 minutes and 31 seconds to seal her London triumph last year ahead of three-time winner and race favourite Keitany, who finished fifth.

“It was a great moment for me winning last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon and I am very much looking forward to returning in April,” Cheruiyot said in a statement.

“The line-up for this year’s race is, once again, incredibly strong so I know I will need to be at my very best to repeat last year’s victory but it is a challenge that I’m really looking forward to. I will be ready.”

The organisers also confirmed the participation of Ethiopian trio Tirunesh Dibaba, Tadelech Bekele and Roza Dereje.

Dereje and Cheruiyot are on 16 points apiece in the World Series standings following their second place finishes in Chicago and New York respectively.

REUTERS

Kenya terror attack aftermath: investigations, NYT backlash, policy change

19 January, 2019 - 13:31

Following the terrorist attack on a hotel complex in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, which cost up to 21 lives, authorities in the country are managing the aftemath, including conducting investigations, tweaking policy and policing coverage of the attack.

Al Shabaab, which claimed the attack on the dusitD2 hotel complex, has in the past launched several large-scale attacks on Kenya in recent years, including a 2013 assault on a shopping mall in the same neighbourhood as Tuesday’s attack.

Kenya angered the group in 2011 by sending in forces to create a buffer zone along the countries’ shared border.

Investigating possible local role

Investigators in Kenya are exploring the possibility that some of the militants may not have been ethnic Somalis.

Police, private security sources and local media reports have highlighted the involvement of a 26-year-old suspect identified in court documents as Ali Salim Gichunge, who was born and raised in central Kenya, as evidence of the group’s lure to some people outside its traditional strongholds.

“The government needs to look at (Gichunge’s) profile. How did he get to where he is?” said a private security official in Kenya, who asked not to be identified for operational reasons.

Those close to Gichunge said they were stunned when he appeared in CCTV footage of the attack toting an assault rifle and firing at a white car.

“I have a lot of questions that need answers just like everyone else,” said Gichunge’s sister, who was reached by phone in Mombasa. “I also saw him on TV, and we didn’t expect him to be there.”

The pair’s father is an officer in the Kenyan military, she told Reuters.

“It is inconceivable how the son of a military man can turn out to be a member of al Shabaab,” she said.

Arresting suspects

All five assailants were killed in Tuesday’s attack, the country’s president said in a televised address the next morning. Police said on Friday they had detained nine other suspects in connection with the incident.

Five of the suspects, one of them listed as a Canadian citizen, were taken to a magistrate’s court and ordered detained for 30 days. Two were taxi drivers and one was a mobile phone financial services agent, court documents said.

The others have not appeared yet. They could have been released or they may be brought before a magistrate on Saturday. Police can hold suspects for 24 hours and need a court order to extend this.

An officer who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly also told Reuters police were pursuing a woman suspected of ferrying weapons to Nairobi from Kiunga, near the border with Somalia, via the port city of Mombasa.

Al Shabaab, which is fighting to impose strict Islamic law, has in the past recruited some East Africans, including four Kenyans and three Ugandans who were charged in connection with a bombing in Uganda in 2010.

Arming private security guards

Authorities in Kenya announced on Friday that they would be arming private security guards manning public places, in the wake of the terror attack.

“Security guards especially in malls form the first line of defence against terrorists and other criminal elements. If we trust them with such establishment why not trust them with firearms?” explained Fazul Mahamud, who heads the Private Security Regulatory Authority.

He added that the process of licensing security guards to carry firearms while on duty, including training and fresh vetting would take up to six months.

Kenya vs New York Times

Kenya’s Media Council (MCK) on Thursday issued an ultimatum to the New York Times (NYT) over an ‘insensitive’ photo published in their coverage of the terror attack.

NYT had earlier defended its use of the photo showing bullet-riddled bodies slumped over desks in a resatuarant at dusitD2 hotel, saying they ‘sought to give readers a clear picture’.

“The MCK vehemently disagrees with your publication’s position that the objectivity of showing gory images of dead bodies from the attack is meant to give readers a clear picture of the horror of such acts,” the statement reads.

The Council issued a 24-hour ultimatum to NYT to pull down the image and issue an unreserved apology.

It set January 21 as the deadline, warning that ‘relevant action’ will be taken in the event that NYT fail to do so.

MCK, which sets standards for journalists working in Kenya, quoted its Act No.46 of 2013 Clause 10 (2) that states:

“Publication of photographs showing mutilated bodies, bloody incidents and abhorrent scenes shall be avoided unless the publication or broadcast of such photographs will serve the public interest.”

Kenyan authorities to investigate local role in Nairobi attack

19 January, 2019 - 13:21

Investigators in Kenya are exploring the possibility that some of the militants who attacked a Nairobi hotel and office complex may not have been ethnic Somalis, stoking fears that militants are deepening their pools of recruitment in the region.

.sidchat1 the UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya ?? says Kenyans displayed exceptional courage, stoicism & dignity in the face of the tragic #DusitHotelAttack. Watch his interview with KimberleyeLeo on SkyNews. #14RiversideAttack https://t.co/HiADHLbMmG— UN Kenya (@UnKenya) January 18, 2019

Officials have released few details about the five-man assault team that carried out Tuesday’s siege at the dusitD2 hotel complex, an attack that killed 21 people and was claimed by al Shabaab, a Somalia-based al Qaeda affiliate.

But police, private security sources and local media reports have highlighted the involvement of a 26-year-old suspect identified in court documents as Ali Salim Gichunge, who was born and raised in central Kenya, as evidence of the group’s lure to some people outside its traditional strongholds.

“The government needs to look at (Gichunge’s) profile. How did he get to where he is?” said a private security official in Kenya, who asked not to be identified for operational reasons.

“If al Shabaab can replicate this model, then there is a fundamental problem.”

All five assailants were killed in Tuesday’s attack, the country’s president said in a televised address the next morning. Police said on Friday they had detained nine other suspects in connection with the incident.

Five of the suspects, one of them listed as a Canadian citizen, were taken to a magistrate’s court and ordered detained for 30 days. Two were taxi drivers and one was a mobile phone financial services agent, court documents said.

Kenyans have been sharing images of random acts of kindness and bravery since Tuesday’s attacks #KenyaUnbowed and #WeShallOvercome https://t.co/WxVLZJEmcW— CNN Africa (@CNNAfrica) January 18, 2019

The others have not appeared yet. They could have been released or they may be brought before a magistrate on Saturday. Police can hold suspects for 24 hours and need a court order to extend this.

An officer who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly also told Reuters police were pursuing a woman suspected of ferrying weapons to Nairobi from Kiunga, near the border with Somalia, via the port city of Mombasa.

There are multiple programmes aimed at preventing radicalisation in Kenya, but analysts say the efforts appear to be falling short. Those close to Gichunge said they were stunned when he appeared in CCTV footage of the attack toting an assault rifle and firing at a white car.

#Kenya Security Alert: In light of the January 15 terrorist attack on the DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi, the U.S. Embassy reminds the public of the continued need for vigilance in public spaces such as shopping malls, hotels, and places of worship. https://t.co/NWbCAzI3pP pic.twitter.com/uUAN5DC9Gw— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) January 18, 2019

“I have a lot of questions that need answers just like everyone else,” said Gichunge’s sister, who was reached by phone in Mombasa. “I also saw him on TV, and we didn’t expect him to be there.”

The pair’s father is an officer in the Kenyan military, she told Reuters.

“It is inconceivable how the son of a military man can turn out to be a member of al Shabaab,” she said.

Although raised Muslim, Gichunge began his education at a Catholic mission school in his eastern home town of Isiolo before moving to the central region of Meru for high school, where he was bullied and beaten severely, she said.

Gichunge, who also used the alias Faruk, later secured work at an internet cafe in Isiolo.

“It all started there,” his sister said. “He was able to access new materials online, go to Facebook, he started studying Arabic language and all sorts of things.”

She said she lost contact with her brother when he moved to Lamu, on the Kenyan coast near the border with Somalia, in 2015.

“He was a very quiet guy,” a friend of Gichunge’s told Reuters, asking not to be named. “You would never have expected him to turn out like that.”

#SAS hero of #Nairobi terror attack is in line to receive the George Cross for braveryhttps://t.co/p0HptU3QSb pic.twitter.com/IP9NgEwaiA— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) January 18, 2019

A police official and a private security professional who took part in rescue efforts at the complex said a man who blew himself up outside a restaurant was also believed to be a non-Somali.

A passerby heard him repeating “where are you?” in flawless Swahili, presumably into a phone, the security professional told Reuters. The language is used throughout Kenya but not in Somalia where most people speak Somali.

Al Shabaab, which is fighting to impose strict Islamic law, has in the past recruited some East Africans, including four Kenyans and three Ugandans who were charged in connection with a bombing in Uganda in 2010.

Rashid Abdi, Horn of Africa Project Director at the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said the group has been actively recruiting in the region.

“Al Shabaab remains an organization with its roots in Somalia but has evolved into a transnational, regional jihadi organisation,” he said.

Kenya court orders five suspects held over Nairobi attack https://t.co/8dJx2D4LVK pic.twitter.com/ITNdHqARMy— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) January 19, 2019

Al Shabaab has launched several large-scale attacks on Kenya in recent years, including a 2013 assault on a shopping mall in the same neighbourhood as Tuesday’s attack. Kenya angered the group in 2011 by sending in forces to create a buffer zone along the countries’ shared border.

Al Shabaab said it carried out Tuesaday’s assault over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Sixteen Kenyans, including a policeman, an American survivor of the Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the United States, and a British development worker were among the dead at the 14 Riverside Drive complex.

REUTERS

'Force for good': Premier League club to shelter homeless at stadium in freezing temperatures

19 January, 2019 - 13:03

Preview Fans have heaped praise on English Premier League club Crystal Palace, who have made the heartwarming gesture of offering beds, hot meals and and breakfast to rough sleepers in the club lounge at their home Selhurst Park stadium.
Read Full Article at RT.com

British police take heat over women & minorities recruitment ad

19 January, 2019 - 12:44

Preview Citing a need for greater diversity within its ranks, the British Transport Police will host a recruitment workshop reserved for women and minorities. The PC cops defended the move after receiving mountains of scorn on Twitter.
Read Full Article at RT.com

We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

19 January, 2019 - 12:41

First published on MLK day 2018

As Martin Luther King’s birthday is celebrated with a national holiday, his death day disappears down the memory hole. Across the country – in response to the King Holiday and Service Act passed

The post We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth appeared first on Global Research.